Debating is a longstanding, highly popular and growing extra-curricular activity here at Cheney. We have weekly debating clubs which cater for every year group. Some of these groups are led by Cheney Sixth Formers, while others are supported by our Oxford Union coach. These clubs allow students to develop a number of valuable skills, including:

  • awareness of a wide range of issues in current affairs
  • ability to consider complex issues from many angles
  • ability to construct strong and considered arguments
  • confidence and skill in articulating opinions in public
  • respect for different perspectives and arguments
  • an ability to listen carefully and respond to others' views

All these important skills are harnessed in a supportive atmosphere where students work together. The weekly sessions are lively and engaging, with the issues explored carefully chosen to suit the age group. A very wide range of students take part and enjoy these clubs, and they are open to everyone.

As well as the weekly meetings in school, we also take part in many public competitions. Cheney is one of the strongest schools in the country in competitive debating.  In 2015, Lydia Day and Sarah Vickers won the English Speaking Union Debating Mace, coming first out of 350 schools in England.  Holly Napier and Anne Kimunguyi built on this achievement in 2016 by winning the South-East region in this competition.  Leonard Cowee and Barnaby Evans won the MCS Oxfordshire Debating competition in June 2016, and were finalists, alongside Hazel Loadman and Yasmin von Hauenschild in June 2017.  Cheney won the Oxfordshire Mock Magistrates’ Competition in 2015 and reached the 2016-17  National Final in Nottingham in March 2017.

Finally, we offer very a successful and popular programme of debating sessions and competitions for local primary schools, delivered by teams of committed Cheney debaters, which enable younger children to begin to develop the many skills debating encourages.

If you would like to know more about debating at Cheney, or a primary school who would like to take part in our debating offers for primaries, please get in touch with Mr David Gimson on